Wednesday 1 July 2015

Walk, look, listen ... smell?

I've been walking the same route every morning and sometimes in the evening for a while now. The scene changes and the view is stunning, but I've also been thinking about the sounds and scents in particular.

Of the five senses, touch gets a look in when the wind is blowing or it's raining, And, on one memorable occasion, when I fell over while navigating some road works in the dark. There is now a new road on the Waterfront that has my blood in it, and I have an interesting and, I fear, permanent scar on my knee. Beware the current fashion for jeans with rips in them. But I'm wandering off the subject of the senses. Taste is sadly absent from my walk but sound and smells are interesting. There is a permanent background noise of traffic and seagulls. The latter is much more prevalent if it happens to be refuse collection day on any part of the route. (See also smells - below) There is non-seagull birdsong - surprisingly while crossing the dock as well as the paths that have vegetation on both sides. Occasionally there is a siren - police, ambulance, fire. One morning, when it was misty, there was a quite creepy sound of murmuring voices coming from a new but unoccupied building. Sometimes there are children playing, dogs barking, lorries announcing they are reversing and people yelling down mobile phones. There is the sound of the sea, caged in the dock, but still noisy when the waves are up. There is the sound of heavy plant on the construction site and what might be a generator that runs continuously. Sometimes there are trains - particularly spectacular if you happen to be in the tunnel under the track at the time. Footsteps and voices echo in there also. Very occasionally there are church bells - and noises carried from the fairground.

On the smell front, if smell can have a front, the two most memorable are food - from the local deli cooking pasties and sausage rolls and the huge new supermarket baking bread and cake. If it is refuse collection day and the gulls have been at the bin bags there are less happy scents. Sometimes there is aftershave or perfume from a passer by. Traffic fumes.The smell of the sea, wet vegetation, mown grass, drains, turned earth from the diggers.

I've made up my mind to try and remember some of these for future books. It could make all the difference in setting the scene. Or even inspiring one. I'm hoping something might come of those creepy voices.

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